Reading Response 5- Sophia Oppel

1. I think the future generations of the web will continue to involve an increasing proportion of user generated and designed content, where web layout and personalization becomes increasingly prevalent. I am envisioning a user designed feed that is personalized to a number of specific pieces of news- like facebook but from multiple different sites- almost like the failed attempt of Google Wave. I do no think this would be particularly empowering for a user, but I believe it would give the illusion of empowerment, speed and efficiency which many people take pride in their technology for. I would also imagine Web technology to become increasingly small until it can be embedded in our brains and viewed subconsciously, allowing for more efficient corporate profiling and a constant barrage of stimulus. M.T. Anderson forecasted this idea in his novel Feed.  

I can also imagine a more immersive web experience; rather than the two dimensional navigation that most websites take, I would predict an integration of a z-index or webspace depth perception, kind of like a videogame. This will serve to further replace physicality, and might begin to account for directional movement as a representation of temporal movement (moving farther back in a feed to older content by moving further into the z-index). This would create a further fusion of time and space. Seeing as our social media personas are already content holders in the global market, I can imagine this moving a step forward so that many people are broadcasting a live stream of their physical lives for constant virtual surveillance and approval.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 7.39.20 PMI would imagine that web services such as online shopping or online medical information will become more interactive, so that a digital facimilie or scan of every human body will exist online. This will be able to accurately try on clothes and get a physical doctors check-up; this digital self could be complete with all the bodily maladies the physical person has, to allow for a useful prognosis.

H&M actually allows an online customizable fitting room in some countries on their online site, but so far it has not really taken off anywhere else.

While some of these ideas may prove useful to users, their implications are potentially worrisome in the further fragmentation of a sense of physical self.

2. On page 23, Lovnik writes: “We need a contemporary network theory that reflects rapid changes and takes the critical and cultural dimensions of technical media seriously…We cannot merely study potentiality and growth patterns as pseudo-natural phenomena.” I think this implies that notions of networked technology are either taken lightly; as nothing more then empty entertainment, or factually; analyzed scientifically and statistically. I would agree that networked practices are now embedded in human culture, and it is necessary to implement an anthropological and theoretical study of the effects of this culture.

I think that exploration into new media and pop culture is often written off as a frivolity or a “hip” trend, as is mainstream entertainment; something meaningless and unworthy of further examination. However, I think all of these things become indexical artifacts of human culture, supporting just as much valuable critical content as a heavy three volume novel when examined closely. I think that what human beings are doing in their leisure hours is very telling of the culture in general, and should be further considered.

Seeing as technology has its own language, syntaxical set of associations, intervention into human interaction and aesthetics, it seems only logical to have a specialized strain of theory that goes into studying the ramifications of these cultural signifiers. It is important that humans employ self-aware usage of networked devices, and possess the vocabulary and ability to analyze the infrastructure and aesthetic decisions being made to frame their user experience. Without some form of educational theory, it will be difficult for the common user to knowledgably position themselves within mediated interaction and understand the corporate politics that underlie many large websites and technologies.

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